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The Daily



07-31-03: An issue of privacy
Judge delays decision on sealing records on Brent Anderson's death

The Daily Standard
    DEFIANCE - No decision was made this morning during a motion hearing to seal the records of Kimberly Anderson relating to her arrest for the September 2001 death of her husband Brent Anderson.
    Auglaize County Common Pleas Judge Frederick Pepple did not state when a ruling would be made, following the hourlong hearing in Defiance County Common Pleas Court.
    Kimberly Anderson's attorney, Alan Konop of Toledo, filed the motion May 22, seeking to seal all records held by the Auglaize County Sheriff's Office, the Wapakoneta Police Department, the Auglaize County Prosecutor's Office, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification (BCI&I), the Auglaize County Data Center and the FBI.
    The argument heard today hinged on Kimberly Anderson's right to personal privacy versus the right of the public to have access to the information from the high-profile case.
    Prior to today's hearing, an agreement was made between all parties to keep all exhibits, including the gun used to kill Brent Anderson, preserved in an agreed fashion. The "agreed order" places the exhibits in the hands of Richard Wallace, a Sidney attorney who filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit in September 2001 on behalf of Brent Anderson's family.
    The hearing today took place in the same courtroom where Kimberly Anderson's seven-day trial was moved from Auglaize County in October 2002, due to pretrial publicity.
    The 38-year-old Wapakoneta woman wore a long, dark dress as she sat next to her attorney. The courtroom held only Kimberly Anderson's family and media representatives, unlike the high number of spectators that attended the trial last fall.
    At the conclusion of the trial in October, Anderson was acquitted by jurors of aggravated murder, murder and voluntary manslaughter. The mother of four told the jury she fired eight shots at her husband in self-defense as he came after her in an upstairs bedroom that Labor Day weekend.
    Konop told the court this morning that Kimberly Anderson is trying to get on with her life and intends to enter the respiratory therapy field she left following the shooting.
    "She will be applying for jobs soon," and it wouldn't be in her personal interest to have aggravated murder charges still on her record, Konop told the court.
    Konop also argued that if Anderson was ever pulled over for a traffic stop, a background check by an officer may reveal the charges and cause prejudice.
    Auglaize County Prosecutor Ed Pierce reminded the court the civil suit still can be refiled by Brent Anderson's family until Sept. 2. In the event that happens, he wants to protect the law enforcement officers who may need their notes from the investigation to testify.
    "I'm going to protect my officers for what may be coming down the road," Pierce said.
    Pepple commented in court that he felt there has been ample time for all parties to preserve copies of depositions, testimony, etc., and family members as well as media have done so.
    Pierce also argued that Konop's stance to protect his client's privacy holds little merit after she gave interviews to not only several local newspapers but appeared on a national syndicated television show, "The John Walsch Show."
    Konop minimized the televised interview saying the show is not broadcast widely.
    "To say she diminished her privacy rights (by giving interviews) makes no sense," Konop told the court.
    Several of Brent Anderson's family members have acquired a new civil attorney, Dale Perdue of Columbus, who is expected to refile the wrongful death suit. Perdue did not make an appearance in court today.
    Brent Anderson's brother, Kevin of Cincinnati, filed the original wrongful death civil suit just weeks after the Sept. 2, 2001, shooting. Kevin Anderson sought compensation from Kimberly Anderson for the couple's surviving children, Erik, now 5, and Ryan, now 3. The case was dropped in March at the request of the family who cited personal reasons.
    Kevin Anderson also filed for custody and/or visitation of his brother's children. Details of that case have yet to be disclosed.


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